Nail biting is caused by a variety of reasons. It usually starts when we are young during bouts of stress, excitement, and boredom. As we get older, the habit usually dies off. However in a lot of people, the habit stays for life. This wrecks havoc on the nails and will prevent them from ever growing above the finger tip.
In serious cases, nail biting can lead to bleeding and damage to the surrounding skin.
This habit can be viewed as disgusting, but it is surprisingly accepted among many adults, however for healthy nail growth it should be broken. Nail chewing over a long period of time causes the nails to grow uneven and into the skin surrounding the fingers. Once you break the habit of biting off your nails, most people often see slow regrowth in their nails. So if you are hoping for long nails, you may have to wait a bit.
Nails that have been bitten for a long time also are more prone to chipping and cracking than healthy regularly trimmed nails.
There are a lot of bitter tasting nail polishes out there that you can buy. These work well, but have to be reapplied daily for the effect to last. If you do not want to go out and buy some of this nail polish, you can always use your own home remedy.
Cheyenne works just the same as that bitter nail polish except instead of being bitter, it is incredibly spicy. Rub Cheyenne pepper into the nail bed and reapply every day or after washing your hands.
Be aware though, if you have open wounds in the area, this will highly irritate them This will also irritate your eyes if you should happen to rub them. If you use this remedy, be sure to avoid rubbing your eyes. If you want the Cheyenne pepper to stay on longer, you can always paint your nails and sprinkle on the Cheyenne pepper while the nail polish is still wet.
As soon as you do make the mistake of rubbing your eyes, you will definitely be sold on bitter nail polish.
A safer and more eye friendly solution is to sprinkle on black pepper onto your wet nail polish instead. Black pepper can be overwhelming when concentrated and it is just as good as the bitter nail polish. It does, however, give your nails a very strange texture.
Gloves are the singular best option to stop nail biting. The gloves serve as a shield between your fingers and your mouth. Some people can stand the taste of Cheyenne pepper or the bitter nail polish they put on their finger, so this is the next best option.
Gloves are especially good if you are prone to biting your nails without knowing it. This way you just gnaw on your gloves instead. If you want to kill two birds with one stone, put some liberal amounts of lotion on your hands before donning the gloves. This moisturizes your hands and nails. When you take off the gloves and wash your hands, your hands will be silky smooth. The lotion will also help your nails grow back faster and healthier.
If you need your finger to be slightly more nimble, you can always wrap bandaids around your fingers to cover the nails.
Get a Hobby
The best way to not let your hands near your mouth is to keep them busy. Your hobby does not have to be something like knitting, it can be something fun like playing a particularly interesting video game.
I find that console games distract better than PC games because you have to hold the controller.
You can also try healthy things like jogging or exercise in general. You never feel the need to bite your nails while you are doing push ups.
You can go outside and put yourself in social situations with new people. While we can chew our nails in front of people we are comfortable with, social stigma dictates us that we must not chew our nails in front of strangers. This new social activity can be something destructive like eating in a restaurant or drinking in a bar, or it can be something less destructive like taking a painting class.
Occupy Your Mouth
If you cannot find a way to occupy your hands, than try occupying your mouth. Things like suckers, gum, or ice cubes can help keep your mouth in check. These are particularly useful when you get an overwhelming urge to chew your nails. No, your body does not have the overwhelming need for nail biting like it does for say, cigarettes. However, your mind has formed a pleasurable response from your biting your nails and thus your brain wants more pleasure.
Rubber Bands Snaps
Again, your brain likes the pleasure it gets from nail biting. To stop a habit your brain gets pleasure from is to replace that pleasurable feeling with pain. Every time you bite your nails or feel like it, snap your rubber band. Tell your friends and family to snap it too if they see you doing it.
Eventually after enough painful responses, your brain will not want to do it anymore.
This works for a variety of habits, so try it on your other bad habits.
If none of these things are working, try to help them out a little. Identify any stressful situations where you feel like biting your nails. Try to avoid these situations or use one of the above remedies to try to deter you if it is something you cannot avoid, like work.
Another thing to avoid is activities where you bite your nails. For example, I subconsciously bite mine while surfing the internet. Help out your nail biting remedies by avoiding things that are boring that cause you to bite your nails absent-mindedly. This means things like the internet, boring games with lots of text to read, and television.
If you would like something else to do, refer back to the get a hobby section.